Even companies that continued to grow during the recession found themselves confronted with fewer customers, less access to credit, and skittish investors. In other words, times have been tough for just about everyone.
But smart entrepreneurs recognize that a downturn -- when everyone else, including the competition, is scared and hunkering down -- can be a great time to reinvest, hire new talent, even expand locations, often for far cheaper than they could've a year or two ago. Now, it seems, can be a great time for entrepreneurs to arm themselves for the inevitable (at least we hope) upswing.
So where should business owners focus their attention? We asked the Board of Directors for their take on spending. Good news, America -- they're hiring!
Clint GreenleafFounder and CEO, Greenleaf Book Group
"We're hiring six people right now. There are a ton of talented people who are still employed, but are concerned about stability -- we can provide that with high growth and opportunities, so this is a great time to ratchet up talent."
Co-Founder and CEO, Brooklyn Industries
"Well, aside from rent, payroll, and cost of goods, we just spent money opening our store on Newbury Street in Boston. We used recycled materials and wood as much as possible to save money. Then next thing we are going to spend money on is a new office. We need to be more central to the buzz of the city."
Founder, The Relentless Foundation and New York Entrepreneur Week
"Since we're a non-profit, for every dollar that comes in the door we create three dollars in value. This is the inverse to most other non-profits who simply return $.80 on the dollar (or less) to their organizations mission. We're able to sustain this return on investment by leveraging sites such as Guru, oDesk and Elance."
Jennifer HillStartup Advisory and Venture Lawyer, Gunderson Dettmer LLP
"People. A company's greatest asset is its employees -- especially during a recession. Retaining critical headcounts that can deliver results, develop the market on a shoestring budget, and creatively solve problems is a wise way to spend precious capital."
The original version of this article appeared on AOL Small Business on 5/24/10.